Law enforcement under attack by Islamic groups

Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

Is that a Qu’ran in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

24 September 2007: Men and women in law enforcement have one of the toughest jobs in America, if not the toughest. It’s bad enough that they face the possibility of not returning home from their shift, but now they face the increased possibility of being sued by individuals and special interest groups largely representing the interests of enemies of America. Consider it another form of warfare by terrorists or terrorist sympathizers in this asymmetrical war in which we find ourselves.

For example, consider the case of 49 year-old Jeffrey SHIELDS, a Muslim convert from Ocala, Florida. SHIELDS, no stranger to the process of being arrested as indicated by his Florida rap sheet (below), is filing a civil rights complaint against four Ocala police officers for firing a Taser gun at him for not complying with their orders to him to show his hands, making sure that he was unarmed.

The incident took place after police received an anonymous call that a Black man matching the description of SHIELDS was in the area of Northwest 12th Avenue and Northwest Second Street, in possession of a large amount of drugs and a Glock handgun. SHIELDS just happened to be in the area and was stopped by police who noticed something protruding from the waistband of his pants. According to reports, SHEILDS had his hand over the object, under his shirt, and refused to raise his hand when ordered to do so by the police.

According to the complaint filed by SHIELDS, police approached him with their weapons drawn and ordered him to remove his hand from under his jersey. SHIELDS allegedly told police officers that all he had under his shirt was “my holy Quran.” Police then advised him to “drop it,” and show both hands to police. In a media interview, SHIELDS said that he was determined “not to desecrate [the Qu'ran] in any way” and kept his hand in his waistband under his jersey.

In the tense moments during this exchange, police officers approached the non-compliant SHIELDS and force him to his knees, then stretched his arms above his head in a prone position.. As one of the officers attempted to handcuff him, SHIELDS put his right hand back onto the object in his waistband. When he again refused orders to remove his hand from his waist, police stunned him twice with a Taser, and handcuffed him.

Police found no guns or drugs on SHIELDS - only a Qu’ran wrapped in a cloth tucked in the waistband of his pants. According to SHIELDS, he was holding the Qu’ran in place so it would not be desecrating by it falling to the ground, which he says explains his refusal to raise both of his hands when ordered to do so. For his failure to take his hand from the object protruding from his waistband - an object that could have been a gun - SHIELDS was “tasered” by police. For their actions to avoid being shot in the event the object was a weapon, four reputable police officers find themselves fighting for their jobs.

Equally insidious is the response by various Islamic groups to this incident. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), for example, appears to be in agreement with the civil action filed by SHIELDS, based solely on their mass e-mailing outlining the incident. CAIR, an organization routinely used to provide Islamic “sensitivity training” to law enforcement agencies is publicizing the complaint of Jeffrey SHIELDS in their mass mailings, suggesting at least their tacit approval of the civil liberties lawsuit.

More outrageous, however, is the position of Dr. Zafer SABAWI, an Iman of the Islamic Association of Central Florida, who is suggesting by his statements that law enforcement across the U.S. must subjugate itself to Islamic culture by recognizing the holy nature of the Qu’ran, whether it’s tucked in someone’s waistband or elsewhere.

When asked if SHIELDS could have dropped the Qu’ran as ordered by police, SABAWI replied:

“In extreme circumstances, you probably could do it,” but with a qualification. “In that circumstance, it’s up to how he feels in his heart but, in normal circumstances, if I see someone drop the Qu’ran, I would jump immediately behind him and pick it up, kiss it and put it up.”

Look for more situations like this to develop to strain our law enforcement- and look for special interest groups to lobby for special considerations for those opting to carry Qu’rans in their waistbands.